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How to Clean Up Broken Glass on Carpet and Other Difficult Areas

Someone picks up broken glass from the floor

Accidents happen, and sometimes they involve broken glass. It can be difficult to clean up broken glass safely and effectively, especially when it’s in areas like the carpet, dishwasher, or your backyard. But with a bit of know-how, you can clean up shattered vases and glasses like a pro.


Blue broken glass on a carpet
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Whether it’s a knocked-over vase or dropped wine glass, shattered glass on carpet can be a huge safety risk. The fibers of a carpet can easily trap tiny glass shards, making efficient cleanup extra important. Follow these steps when cleaning up glass on a carpet or rug:

  • Gear up with some protective gloves. There may be small shards of glass you can’t see in the fibers.
  • Clean up any large chunks of glass using a small broom and dustpan.
  • Grab a flashlight and shine it over the affected area to spot smaller shards that you may have missed. Close the blinds to make sure the glass catches the light of your flashlight.
  • Carefully press and roll a large piece of tape over the area to pick up smaller glass shards. Dispose of the tape securely in a trash bag. You can also use a lint roller for a similar effect.
  • Attach the hose or nozzle to your vacuum cleaner and vacuum the area, making sure to go over the entire affected region. Dispose of the debris in a sealed bag afterward.

ROYAKI Chemical Resistant Gloves

These gloves will keep your hands protected during cleaning.


A broken mug on blue tile
Yauheni Kazlou/Shutterstock.com

Tile might seem like an easier surface to deal with when it comes to broken glass, but the hard floor can send those shards flying across the room. Here’s how to clean up glass on a tile floor.

  • Just like with carpets, it’s crucial to prioritize safety by donning protective gloves.
  • Begin by using a broom and dustpan to collect the larger pieces of glass. Gently sweep the area, pushing the glass into a small pile, and then carefully use the dustpan to scoop it up. Be careful not to press too hard and spread smaller shards.
  • Pull out your flashlight and illuminate the area, keeping an eye out for glints that might expose small shards you missed. Clean these up with your dustpan.
  • To continue to tackle small glass shards, dampen a paper towel and gently wipe the floor with it. This can help pick up even more small shards.
  • For a thorough cleanup, finish by using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to go over the area. This step can help pick up any remaining glass fragments as well as fine dust that might have been generated during the cleanup process.
  • Gather all the collected glass shards, used wipes, and tape, and dispose of them in a sealed bag or container. This prevents any accidental cuts for you or waste handlers later on.

OXO Good Grips Dustpan and Brush Set

Great for cleaning up small messes.

Garbage Disposal

Broken glass in a sink
Korostylev Dmitrii/Shutterstock.com

Dropped a glass in the sink? It can be frustrating to realize you have to clean up broken shards in the garbage disposal, but it’s not as hard as it may seem. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Turn off the power to the garbage disposal before attempting to remove the glass to prevent accidents.
  • Wear protective gloves to avoid cuts from the glass. Use pliers or tongs to extract visible large glass pieces. Don’t your hand directly into the disposal!
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to pick up any small pieces of glass that may be left in the garbage disposal.
  • Illuminate the disposal using a flashlight to check to see if all the glass has been removed. Once you are sure everything is clean, reset the garbage disposal by turning the power back on.
  • Flush water through the disposal to get rid of any remaining glass particles. Again, you need to make sure that you have cleaned up all visible glass pieces at this point to avoid damaging your disposal or pipes.

BISSELL 2252 Bagless Vacuum

This popular vacuum has a powerful hose attachment.


Broken glass inside of a dishwasher

Sometimes a glass or plate gets thrown around in the dishwasher and ends up breaking. Here’s how to clean it up without damaging your expensive appliance.

  • As always, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
  • Make sure the dishwasher is switched off and unplugged to prevent accidents.
  • Gently use tongs or pliers to lift bigger glass bits from the dishwasher. Avoid touching the glass with your bare hands. Use a vacuum with a hose or a broom to eliminate smaller glass fragments.
  • Take out your dishwasher’s filter and check it for glass particles. Clean it well or replace it if needed.
  • Wipe down the inside of the dishwasher with a damp cloth or sponge, focusing on spots where glass might have lodged. After cleaning, run a rinse cycle without dishes to flush out any remaining glass.
  • Before using the dishwasher again, carefully inspect all items for lingering glass. Repeat the cleaning process again if necessary.

SKEMIX Long Kitchen Grill Tongs

Clean up glass shards without damaging your dishwasher.


A baseball next to broken glass on grass
Dani Simmonds/Shutterstock.com

You can’t exactly vacuum your backyard, so what do you do if a bottle gets broken outside? Here’s how to safely clean up glass outdoors.

  • Put on your protective gloves.
  • If the glass is spread over a small area, use a shovel to lift the grass sod. You can either dispose of the entire chunk or flip it over to bury the glass if you prefer.
  • For glass near plants, gently shake glass off them and vacuum around the stems with an outdoor vacuum. Broken glass won’t damage your plants, but you don’t want to cut yourself the next time you’re in the garden.
  • If the glass is in an area with minimal loose dirt, you can use an outdoor vacuum hose attachment to clean up the mess.
  • If the mess can’t be cleaned thoroughly, the best option is to cut out the affected area completely and remove the grass. Reseed or replace the sod. This won’t be too expensive for a small area, and it will give you peace of mind knowing that no one will get cut in the future.

Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum

This portable vacuum is great for outdoor messes.

Cleaning up broken glass might not be your idea of a good time, but armed with these tips, you can tackle it safely and effectively.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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